Walter Michot / Miami Herald via AP
Rescue divers search for missing persons after a packed outdoor deck collapsed at a popular Miami-area sports bar Thursday June 13, 2013.
Thirty-three basketball fans were injured after a deck collapse at a popular Miami-area bar and grill sent them tumbling into the waters of Biscayne Bay on Thursday night as the Miami Heat took on the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, authorities said.
About 100 people were on the deck of Shuckers Waterfront Grill when it collapsed around 9:45 p.m. local time, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue said, and two dozen were transported for medical treatment. Two people injured in the collapse remained in critical condition late Thursday night.
The outdoor deck behind a popular Miami-area sports bar that was crowded with basketball fans Thursday night collapsed, throwing patrons into Biscayne Bay, injuring over 20 people, including three critically. NBC's Mark Potter reports.
“We were up on the fifth floor and just heard a crash, like something collided or like a thunderstorm,” witness Erick Williams told NBC Miami. “They were injured, there were leg injuries, there were body injuries, people just shocked and awed.”
The restaurant sits partially in the bay and part on land in North Bay Village, an island between Miami and Miami Beach.
Witnesses said they found themselves stuck in the water after the deck, situated about five feet above the bay, gave way beneath them. They said bystanders jumped in to help injured people caught among the floating wood, tables, and umbrellas.
“There was just a crack, and then we were in the water,” Crystal Infante told the Miami Herald. “It was really hard to get out, and you couldn’t find anyone.”
Dozens of emergency responders worked to get patrons to safety after the collapse, which occurred minutes before the NBA Finals halftime. Divers from Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue and Miami-Dade Police plucked injured patrons from the bay’s shallow water.
Peter Zalewski of Miami Beach was griping about his team’s performance when suddenly he was surrounded by “chaos.”
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“It’s a little starling because you’re sitting there watching the game, you’re complaining about Wade not making his baskets and Bosh not getting any rebounds and next thing you know, there’s this huge noise, the landscape just disappears, people disappear and the ones still standing start running toward you,” Zalewski told the Miami Herald.
“Most of the people were just calling out, ‘Is anybody missing, is anybody missing?’” he told the paper. “You just kept hearing that over and over and over.”
Authorities said they believed everyone was accounted for by early Friday.
“This is a real tragedy,” North Bay Village Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps said. “Shuckers has been here for many, many years. People come from all around to enjoy the view and the food. This is really unfortunate.”
Team members expressed their concern for their hometown fans hurt in the deck collapse.
“I want to share our concerns as an organization and our gratitude to our fans back in Miami for their support,” Heat player Dwyane Wade told reporters in a postgame interview.
The Heat pulled ahead to beat the Spurs, 109-93, to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.